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From Late Latin initiātus, perfect passive participle of initiō (begin, originate), from initium (a beginning), from ineō (go in, enter upon, begin), from in + (go).


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈnɪʃɪeɪt/
  • Hyphenation: ini‧ti‧ate


initiate (comparative more initiate, superlative most initiate)

  1. (obsolete) Unpractised; untried; new.
    • Shakespeare
      the initiate fear that wants hard use
  2. (obsolete) Begun; commenced; introduced to, or instructed in, the rudiments; newly admitted.
    • Young
      To rise in science as in bliss, / Initiate in the secrets of the skies.


initiate (plural initiates)

  1. A new member of an organization.
  2. One who has been through a ceremony of initiation.



initiate (third-person singular simple present initiates, present participle initiating, simple past and past participle initiated)

  1. (transitive) To begin; to start.
    • I. Taylor
      How are changes of this sort to be initiated?
  2. To instruct in the rudiments or principles; to introduce.
    • Dr. H. More
      Providence would only initiate mankind into the useful knowledge of her treasures, leaving the rest to employ our industry.
    • John Locke
      To initiate his pupil into any part of learning, an ordinary skill in the governor is enough.
  3. To confer membership on; especially, to admit to a secret order with mysterious rites or ceremonies.
    • Bishop Warburton
      The Athenians believed that he who was initiated and instructed in the mysteries would obtain celestial honour after death.
    • Spectator
      He was initiated into half a dozen clubs before he was one and twenty.
  4. (intransitive) To do the first act; to perform the first rite; to take the initiative.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?)


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]




  1. vocative masculine singular of initiātus